Originally written by Gary White and published by the Ledger Media Group. Visit the Ledger’s website to view the original article.
LAKELAND — Michaela Sawyer recently learned that the gap between the present and the time of Jesus is only as large as the distance between her knees and her feet.
That, at least, was the case recently as she stood in an archaeological pit at the Shikhin Excavation Project in Israel. Sawyer, a student at Southeastern University, joined two other students and history professor John Wineland for a month at the site, which holds artifacts dating as early as the fourth century B.C.
“It was like, ‘This ancient history from thousands and thousands of years ago is just a little bit below my feet,’” Sawyer, 19, recalled recently as she sat in the Steelman Library on the Southeastern campus.
In addition to Sawyer, SEU students Anna Erekson and Connor Alkass made the trip to Israel for the project, which lasted from May 26 through June 26. They earned credit for Wineland’s class, Archaeology and History of the Mediterranean World.
Sawyer, 19, is a social science major and had no experience with archaeology before the trip. The same was true for Erekson, 20, a psychology major.
“I didn’t really care anything for archaeology or history, but after I went on this trip I have a new appreciation for archaeology and for history,” said Erekson, a junior from Wauchula, “and I might even go on a dig again just because I learned so much.”
Shikhin, located in lower Galilee, is a prominent archaeological site about 5 miles from Nazareth. Colleges and universities send students to volunteer at the cultural heritage site and earn credits during the summer.
Wineland, who is entering his third year at Southeastern, said he has been traveling to the Middle East for archaeological projects since the 1980s. He participated in the Shikhin Project last summer but didn’t take any Southeastern students.
Southeastern offers domestic and international programs for coursework throughout the year, not just in the summer. Other destinations include England, Thailand and Nicaragua.
Sawyer, a junior from Bartow, said she originally signed up for a trip to China, but it was canceled when no other students expressed interest. Wineland then approached her to ask whether she might go to Israel instead.
“I’ve always wanted to travel places; I want to see, like, everywhere in the world,” she said. “It was really cool that I was going to such an important place as Israel. It has a lot of history, biblically, and a lot of history in more recent times. There’s just so much to see there.”
It was the first time outside the United States for both Sawyer and Erekson.
The students soon learned that this would be no leisurely excursion. The Southeastern contingent rose at 4 a.m. each weekday to reach the excavation site by about 5 a.m. Wineland said the Shikhin Excavation Project is perfect for students because it includes an archeological field school.
“A lot of times, students will go to a dig and they won’t get to do much real digging,” he said. “They’ll end up having them push a wheelbarrow and move stuff, but here they’re actually digging. They’re learning how to do paperwork, and there are weekend field schools and we have lectures at night, three or four nights a week.”
The ancient village of Shikhin existed from at least the fifth century B.C. until the fourth century of the modern era. It served as an important site for pottery manufacturing in the Roman period, as its potters gained renown for making durable vessels, including storage jars, bowls, jugs and oil lamps.
The village lay along a major Roman highway about a mile from the city of Sepphoris.
A survey team from the University of South Florida first mapped out parts of Shikhin in 1988, and a team from Samford University in Alabama conducted a second survey in 2011.
The following year, students from Samford and USF opened the first archeological site there.
The Shikhin dig site is divided into squares, each 5 meters by 5 meters, and each student was assigned to a square. Excavators generally leave a 1-foot strip on two connecting sides of the square intact so the geological strata can be examined.
“Most of the groups working at the site dug no deeper than about 5 feet,” Wineland said.
Shikin, like many places in the Middle East, abounds with artifacts, especially pottery. Wineland said small sherds can even be found above ground.
Archaeologists, though, seek intact pieces of the clay pottery, and that requires digging. Sawyer, wearing a T-shirt with “Southeastern University” written in Hebrew on it, said students used trowels, small pickaxes, cups, spoons and brushes to carefully scoop out dirt and reveal items buried for centuries.
Published: July 22, 2018
Originally written and published by the Central Florida Development Council (CFDC). Visit the CFDC’s website to view the original article.
People who think outside the box often are contagious, possessing the ability to transform their ideas into actions because others want to follow and help. Dr. Craig Collins, dean of the College of Arts & Media at Southeastern University, is one of those type people, constantly finding ways to elevate the image of the Lakeland university — and the arts in general — while ensuring students have the best experience possible. In many ways, those go hand in hand.
Since he joined the college in 2013 after being principal at Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland for 12 years, Collins has:
- Improved programs for students by adding a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and a master’s degree in creative writing.
- Oversaw the $22 million construction of the 20,000-square-foot Buena Vida Building, where the College of Arts & Media is now located.
- Partnered with the arts community to host the Sm(ART) Symposium at SEU
- for several years and to create, organize and present Sinfonia: Connecting the
Arts and Community.
His love for the arts started at a young age and continued through college, when he served as drum major for the marching band at the University of Florida. But his love transcends music: He has a keen eye for photography, snapping photos during travels to document his adventures, and a heart for interesting and diverse artwork.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Craig Collins, Southeastern University has developed a greater appreciation for the arts,” said Dr. William Hackett Jr., SEU’s provost. “He has raised the bar and broadened the experiences and opportunities our students have to engage in media programing and the arts and to share their talents with community.”
Here are four things you may not have known about SEU, where about 3,000 students attend classes at the Lakeland campus, and its contributions to the arts community:
- Student immersion on campus. Following the 2017 opening of the College of Arts & Media’s new building, students now have classrooms designed specifically for their fields of study, whether drawing, practicing piano recitals or preparing to play at halftime at a Fire football game.
- Student exhibits. Campus life meets the community as students put their work on display for fellow students, professors and staff, as well as the community at large. Still lifes hang from the walls as film students practice the latest comedy show. “I always enjoy the numerous ways our faculty and students move beyond the four walls of the classroom. From musical performances to our ekphrastic poetry event at the Polk Museum of Art, these events use the arts to build meaningful bridges into the community,” said Dr. Cameron Hunt McNabb, associate professor of English.
- Community involvement. Not everything that happens on campus stays on campus. For the last three years, the Humanities Department within the College of Arts & Media hosted a creative writing seminar that included an open invitation to the community. For a nominal fee, attendees were able to get writing tips from well-known authors like Tom French to local writers like Joni Fisher. The college has also orchestrated a film festival that has attracted films from across the globe. As part of that, Collins brought in cinematographer Stephen Campbell, who has worked on several episodes of The Walking Dead, to show audience members how lighting plays a part in TV shows and movies.
- Community outreach. In March 2018, Collins introduced Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community, a special concert honoring military veterans. Hollywood conductor Joseph DeBeasi composed a special piece that debuted at the event, and worked with several local officials to take part as guest conductors during the performance. But Collins’ local relationships helped make the performance a reality, including assistance from the Polk Veterans Council. “ Sinfonia was purposed to challenge our perspectives and to tell, through music, one of the overlooked stories of our communities: veterans and the battle in their souls that continues long after they return from deployment,” Collins said. “The event itself embodied community, bringing together students from SEU’s Department of Music, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, bagpipe performers from Lake Wales, Miss Florida 2017 and the ROTC from Florida Southern College and SEU — all to celebrate the power of music in telling a narrative, one which honored our nation’s military personnel.”
“At Southeastern, we believe that one of the many facets of growth can be seen in the engagement of arts and media as it enables individuals to express their God-given creativity,” said SEU President Dr. Kent Ingle. “his creativity can be seen through the many film projects our students produce at the annual Film Festival to the art exhibits that showcase our students’ artwork in the Buena Vida art gallery. We find it imperative for our students to express their creativity and provide a venue for the community to participate in that creativity. We welcome the community’s contribution to our growing art programs.”
Meri Mass, executive director of the Polk Arts Alliance and a member of the CAM’s advisory board, appreciates what SEU brings to the community.
“SEU has a dynamic campus that not only inspires learning and importance of faith, it inspires social interaction and the importance of community and kindness that is then extended out into the community,” Mass said. “The SEU campus provides a great feeling of family and unity with a dynamic culture of many great experiences a student (and the community) can participate in, enjoy and learn from all genres of the arts and sports. I am always impressed with the level of professionalism of the students and their level of respect at all times.”
Published: June 13, 2018
Originally written by Suzanne Nicole Jones (an SEU Student) and published by the Southeastern University on the SEU Blog. Visit the SEU Blog to view the original article.
What would it be like to walk through life, knowing you have something to offer the world and being pushed aside as useless, ignorant and an outsider — not because you cannot speak, but because you cannot speak the same language?
New Place, New Language
Unlike our daily, more superficial frustrations that are often induced by unwanted waiting (in line for our coffee, in traffic on the way to work, or even in agony for our internet to load) there is a woman who lives with this frustration, of having something to say but no means of saying it.
She was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, where she worked in one of the city’s largest universities as the head lawyer, practicing on behalf of the school’s students in times of crisis.
Her frustrating circumstance was not introduced without cause. In fact, the story of its introduction is rather sweet. She came to the United States to visit a friend to many of us, the one and only Mickey Mouse. While here, she met a man with whom she fell in love. They married, and as you do when you fall in love, she gave up her familiar home and amazing job to be with her husband where he needed to be, here in Florida.
The catch? She doesn’t speak English.
Imagine spending years of your life earning an education, climbing the business ladder, making yourself indispensable, and then choosing to do what’s best for your family — then losing it all in an instant, simply for your inability to communicate.
English and Intercultural Studies
There’s a major in the Department of Humanities (within the College of Arts & Media) titled English and Intercultural Studies, more affectionately known as EIS. EIS majors are a close-knit group, a family of sorts, that all share one heart — a heart to open doors for this frustrated woman, and many others like her.
The English and Intercultural Studies program trains young students to teach English as a second/foreign language. Though it is possible to earn a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification without ever earning a degree, EIS students are training to be the best of the best, and more importantly, to share the Gospel.
EIS trainees teach every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Buena Vida East. They teach students who are local — men and women who are here for innumerable reasons, needing to learn English to communicate.
Winta Habtab, one of the EIS students who is graduating this semester, was once an EEL student herself.
“I was born in Ethiopia and lived in many different countries before coming to the U.S. When I got here, my first teacher was an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher. I ended up having a great connection with her, and she really inspired me,” says Habtab. “If I or my classmates were ever uncomfortable, she was the one we always went back to. She was our ‘school mom.’ And I knew that I wanted to be what she was for me for someone else.”
Habtab is fluent in three languages and has a conversational understanding an additional two. “I don’t really see it in terms of speaking three languages as much as being able to communicate with that many more people,” says Habtab. “It’s a way of bonding with people. It’s really cool to run into someone you’ve never met, but sharing a language with them and automatically sharing a connection with them because really language is much deeper than words — it’s a bond, a culture, a community.”
With such a heart found in EIS majors, dedication is not hard to come by. In some cases, such as the woman from Brazil, EIS student teachers are opening up their schedules and deliberately making time to meet with their ELL students outside of regular class hours.
What a way to create the good news that can feel so absent in our world — establishing a means of communication for those who would otherwise be forced to go without.
Published: March 23, 2018